It’s one of the campaign promises that Americans don’t think much about because it does not immediately effect most of us, however, President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and declare the ancient city the Capitol of Israel has the potential to send sock waves across the Middle East peace process.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II urged President Trump to reverse his decision, saying recognizing Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel could have “serious implications” for security throughout the region.
“King Abdullah stressed that the adoption of this resolution will have serious implications for security and stability in the Middle East, and will undermine the efforts of the American administration to resume the peace process and fuel the feelings of Muslims and Christians,” said a statement from the King’s office in Amman.
Calling Jerusalem the “eternal capital” of Israel, Trump is determined to recognize the importance of the city to not just the Israelis, but many others throughout the world for whom the city has religious significance as well as reaffirming the 1949 declaration making the city the capitol of the State of Israel.
Muslim leaders across the Middle East are declaring this action to be offensive.
After Trump’s call with Abbas, a spokesman for Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said Trump “briefed President Abbas on his intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to” Jerusalem, though no official decision was conveyed.
Abbas warned Trump about “the dangerous implications for such a decision on the peace process, the security and stability in the region and the world” and called the possible move “an unacceptable step,” Rudeineh said.
Both Jews and Christians – the two faiths with the lion’s share of holy sites in the Holy Land – would definitely consider Jerusalem as a capitol long before Tel Aviv. Jerusalem has been the seat of Israel for millenia, and the First Crusade in the eleventh century targeted the city itself for reclamation. This is not forgotten by observant and historically knowledgeable people.
The other half of this campaign promise regarding Israel is to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. While that is the ultimate goal, actually making it a reality is easier said than done. There are a number of logistical challenges with that action which are still being worked out.
However, being the courteous leader that he is, President Donald Trump let the world know his intentions regarding this very symbolic move. We’ll see if the muslims in the Middle East get their head scarves in a twist or if their rhetoric is just more bloviating to get Trump to give in and not call Jerusalem the capitol of Israel.